Category Archives: From Galvin

From the Galvin Blog: The Forgotten Social Networks: It’s Not ALWAYS About Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIN

If you follow the social media trend back to its roots at the turn of the century, you’ll find a trail of forgotten websites, misguided concepts and copycats that have come and gone over the years. I remember first jumping on the bandwagon back in 2003 when someone sent me an invitation to Friendster. From there, I was hooked on the potential of what could be accomplished with social networking. A few years later, MySpace surged in popularity and suddenly Friendster was forgotten. Within two years however, it was obvious that the move was going to be to Facebook, and MySpace became a ghost town almost overnight.

Clearly a pattern was forming, and soon the Internet was rife with sites that were little more than on-line time capsules of long-abandoned discussions and profiles. In fact, as an early-adopter of just about every social media site and new idea, I have probably left dozens, perhaps even hundreds, of such profiles scattered all over the web. Some of these sites I still mourn (Jaiku, Digg, Frappr), others I was glad to see go (Plurk, iLike, Microsoft Spaces, Yahoo 360).

The common sense rule of social media success is simply that people go where their friends are, and businesses concentrate their efforts where the people are. For that reason alone, do not expect any drastic shifts in power from the current triumvirate of LinkedIN, Facebook, and Twitter in the near future. This makes social media strategy easy for most businesses, since maintaining a presence on those sites can be done with minimal expense or thought. For companies willing to put a bit more time and effort into their social media strategy, however, there are a number of “secondary” sites that, depending on your business model and amount of time you’re prepared to put forth, could provide a much better return in brand exposure and convertible prospects.

Here are just four of my favorites:

Foursquare

Why Is This a Great Site? Despite relying heavily on a “sooo-three-years-ago” strategy of gamification and badges, Foursquare remains useful for its easy integration into Twitter and Facebook feeds, as well as the fact that many of the heavy-influencers in social media still use the site. While you may have a loyal following of customers who frequent your business regularly, they do not always mention you by name on their Twitter and Facebook feeds. A few well-placed specials or incentives through Foursquare will give them that motivation. In addition, the metrics provided to “place owners” provide valuable insight into their customers and their behaviors.

Who Should Be Here? Any brick and mortar business that relies on walk-in traffic, or who is looking to expand their brand name cheaply through buzz-based marketing.

43Things

Why Is This a Great Site? 43Things has long been one of my favorite sites. The premise is simple: You create an account, list out 43 things you would like to do or accomplish, and then share them. Users of the site (you don’t need to “add” or “friend people” to participate) can then offer advice, make recommendations, or just cheer you on. From a business perspective, the advantage of being able to search and find people who have volunteered their purchasing plans or pain points should be obvious. Do you sell cars? Simply look for people who list, “Buy a car,” among their goals. Do you provide career counseling services or professional training? There are literally thousands of people who have, “Get a better job,” on their list of top priorities.

Who Should Be Here? Just about any B2C organization should be able to easily identify their target market on this site. While the effort to interact individually with each person is time consuming, it should be quite reasonable for those people who sell large ticket items or who rely on long-term, subscription-style relationships with clients.

FriendFeed

Why Is This a Great Site? I constantly lament that FriendFeed never caught on with the masses. I believe it had the potential to take the best parts of Facebook’s wall (articles, interesting posts, relevant tweets, original long-form content) and leave behind the worst parts (endless re-posts of the same content, game badges, kitten pictures, the need for “EdgeRank” maintenance). While not the most-popular of the existing social network sites, FriendFeed has enjoyed a steady, loyal audience of long-form content creators and consumers that shun Facebook for the previously-listed reasons. In addition, because many social network advocates do not duplicate their content between services, it gives an excellent aggregate view of an individual or company’s collected output.

Who Should Be Here? Companies seeking to engage a technically savvy audience; companies who sell a product or service that requires extensive research or analysis; companies selling in a new niche that requires extensive customer education; companies with a widely diverse social media presence who are wary of creating redundant content across that network.

Local Networking Sites

Why Are These Great Sites? Most metropolitan regions have online groups focused around networking in the local space. In Central Indiana we have “Smaller Indiana,” “The Code and Coffee Crowd,” and “Indy Tweetup,” among others. Because they are specialized, these sites are great ways to get your name and company noticed without the low “signal to noise ratio” of the big three social networks. In addition, many offer in-person meet-ups or events around specialized disciplines that are ideal for gaining valuable face-to-face time with potential partners and customers you’ve already met through the site.

Who Should Be Here? Small companies with a localized customer base; companies focusing on networking or partnering with local thinkers; companies seeking to expand their social media presence through guest blogging.

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From the Galvin Blog: My Contribution to Thanksgiving Legend

Arguably, leftovers are one of the great joys of Thanksgiving. Who doesn’t love dry turkey sandwiches, cold mashed potatoes topped with the inimitable brown “jellygravy,” and green bean casserole that defies the logic of physics by actually heating to a temperature somewhere between McDonald’s coffee and liquid magma while the potatoes, who sat nondescript beside them inside the microwave, maintain a 58 degree temperature and the consistency of wet sand. Well my friends, suffer no further, for I am about to share with you my family tradition for kicking the lame leftover blues and feeding a house full of freeloading relatives for the remainder of the weekend on a budget of about $5. I give you…

Turkey Spaghetti

While this dish is surprisingly complex in flavor, it is not at all difficult to make (assuming you have the stirring arms of a lumberjack) and leaves plenty of room for experimentation to tailor to your particular tastes.

Basic Ingredients:

  • Leftover turkey bits
  • One brick of Velveeta cheese cut into small cubes
  • 1 green pepper, chopped
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 box of spaghetti
  • 1 can of cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 can of Rotel tomatoes

Step 1: Begin by taking what remains of that giant bird you just finished devouring and rip it to shreds with the enthusiasm of a lion on the African Savannah — and I’m talking all of it here. Grab those perfectly-carved slices nobody wanted, pinch every ounce of meat you can off the carcass  strip the bones the kids left behind after taking two bites, add the sack of organ meat (if you like that kind of stuff), and even scoop out the drippings and debris left in the roasting pan (for flavor). Throw them in a giant stock pot full of water and bring them to a boil. Yes it looks gross, but trust me, you’re only on Step 1 here, and I’ve done this dozens of times.

Step 2: Throw in a box of spaghetti, cook it with the turkey, and drain. You should now have a calendar full of shredded turkey bits, and spaghetti that was cooked in “turkey water.”

Step 3: Add some oil to a skillet and saute up the onion and peppers. This not only makes you look like a fancy chef, but the coloring also adds an air of Christmas to the dish. Yes, that holiday looms on the horizon. If you play your cards right, you’ll still be trying to finish this up then.

Step 4: Combine the onions and peppers with a can of Rotel tomatoes and a can of cream of mushroom soup (because everything has a can cream of mushroom soup in it, right?). Bring to a boil, add Velveeta (the cheese that will not die), and reduce heat to a simmer while the “faux cheese” melts.

Step 5 (optional): This is the fun, experimental part where every year I try to figure out what else might work well in this recipe. My best results were the year I started going through the relish tray: carrots, celery, broccoli and cauliflower florets, olives, etc. Personally, I skip this these days and just throw in the can of black olives that I got up at 6:00 AM and hid from everyone. (We’re olive freaks in my family.  Seriously, it’s like an entree some nights.)

Step 6: Once the Velveeta is melted, combine everything back in the original stock pot. Stir until you swear your right arm is going to fall off, then switch to the left arm.  You may stop when tears appear.

Serve in a hearty bowl with some garlic toast and prepare to shoot dirty looks at your insane uncle who will maintain against convention that his cold turkey sandwich is somehow superior to this dish.

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